Water flows downhill. We all know this, and we all (implicitly) understand the idea. Water is flexible and subject to the forces of gravity. Terrain has high points and low points. Water follows the path of least resistance to reach its destination.
Water isn’t the only thing that behaves in this way. I think people behave in an identical fashion. Once the destination is determined and “terrain” is clearly visible, the path of least resistance becomes obvious. Unlike water, though, humans have to define the final resting point as precisely as possible. …
Starting a big project is tricky. I usually have some sense of what needs to be done, but my time estimates tend to be… a little off. There’s one thing worse than underestimating the time it’ll take: doing unnecessary work. I hate getting traction on a project only to realize that a bunch of work was wasted.
There’s a trick that often works for me: Rescope the project to complete it within the next week. Even when unrealistic, trying to apply that tight constraint can get you to notice things you wouldn’t otherwise. It forces me to consider what is absolutely necessary and what can be skipped. …
When the automobile was first released, people referred to them as horseless carriages. The driver would sit at the same height as on a carriage, even though there was no horse to see over.
New technology has far broader implications than an initial implementation suggests. Florent Crivello proposes that every new technology goes through this “valley of mismatch”:
It’s becoming more widespread, but people are still using it under the logic of the old paradigm
There used to be huge printed directories of local businesses (Yellow Pages). Innovators carried the same idea to the internet (Yahoo). It took a while to discover the full information indexing potential of computers (Google).
What valleys of mismatch do you see around you? There may be some Tortoises crawling through them as we speak.
Originally published at Gary Basin.
The Innovator’s Dilemma begins as an exciting new market opportunity presents itself.
Blue enters the market by providing a solution. It solves some customer problems by leveraging its new Circle technology.
I love to read about how great people accomplish great things. It’s similar to getting advice — I’m left with a high. I imagine that if I can follow the instructions, then I too will accomplish what they have. It’s a logical and tantalizing idea: follow the prescription, get the reward. In practice, it tends to fall short.
Kapil Gupta and Naval Ravikant did a great interview where they touched on this pitfall.
The catch is, to achieve something truly remarkable, you have to do something new. It’s practically in the definition. Copying others can help you learn a domain. Imitation is good practice. …